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Portuguese Army

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The Portuguese Army (Portuguese: Exército Português) is the land component of the Armed Forces of Portugal and is also its largest branch. It is charged with the defense of Portugal, in co-operation with other branches of the Armed Forces. It is one of the oldest armies in the world, with its origins going back to the 12th century.

The Portuguese Army is commanded by the Chief of Staff of the Army (CEME), a subordinate of the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces for the operational matters and a direct subordinate of the Ministry of National Defense for all other matters. The CEME is the only officer in the Army with the rank of General (Four-star rank).

Presently, the Portuguese Army is an entirely professional force made of career personnel (officers and NCOs) and of volunteer personnel (officers, NCOs and enlisted ranks). Until the early 1990s, conscripts constituted the bulk of the Army personnel, with a cadre of career officers and NCOs responsible for their training. Conscription was however gradually reduced since the middle 1990s, until being finally formally abolished in 2004.

As 2014, the Portuguese Army employed 5,700 career personnel and 10,600 volunteers, this representing a total of 16,300 military personnel. Of the total military personnel, 2,700 were officers, 4,000 were NCOs and 9,600 were other ranks. Further, the Army also included 1,900 civilian employees.

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